Mookie Alexander and Stephie Haynes provide weekly news coverage as well as an in-depth review of last Saturday’s Mayweather-McGregor fight. Welcome to your weekly dose of Three Amigos Podcast fun. We’ve got a special episode this week, featuring an in-depth look at the MMA community’s news of the week and an in-depth review of the Mayweather-McGregor mega-fight. We also have a new installment of our popular segment Sports That Can’t Stop No Double Leg ™.
*Iain Kidd had some pressing family matters to attend to, so it was just Mookie and Stephie this week.*
Ordered Listing with timestamps:
Sports That Can’t Stop No Double Leg™ – 40:20
Here is a summary of each segment, complete with the time stamps for when each interview or special segment begins. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to the show as much as we enjoyed recording it.
The hosts discuss a variety of topics that include:
How well did McGregor do?
What’s next for McGregor?
McGregor’s future in combat sports
Is Zuffa Boxing going to become a real thing?
Bob Arum says WME-IMG tried to buy Top Rank
UFC’s new deal with 7-Eleven
Derrick Lewis’ heroic rescue efforts in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
Sports That Can’t Stop No Double Leg™ – 40:20
Staff predictions and standings
You can check out the entire show here. Remember, if you’re looking for us on SoundCloud or iTunes, we’re under the MMA Nation name. Follow our Twitter accounts: Stephie Haynes, Three Amigos Podcast, Iain Kidd and Mookie Alexander or our Facebook fan page, Three Amigos Pod.
There was a time when Dana White and Oscar De La Hoya were cool. Maybe even friends. De La Hoya, a legendary boxer turned boxing promoter, has always been a supporter of MMA, unlike some of his peers. And he and White had a pretty solid relationship.
Those days appear to be long gone.
De La Hoya was critical of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match, co-promoted by the UFC, from the start. White went back at him on several occasions. Last Friday, De La Hoya upped the ante with a nasty tweet about the matchup right before weigh-ins began. UFC president Dana White sent an ugly one in response, asking if De La Hoya was snorting cocaine and drinking booze again.
“Just trying to defend my sport,” De La Hoya said. “My sport gave me everything I have. My sport allowed me to win an Olympic gold medal, to win 10 world titles in six different weight classes. I’ve been boxing since I was 4 years old. I was a little fed up by what was taking place. Obviously emotions run through my veins and I was just defending the sport that I dearly love.”
On White’s response, De La Hoya said it upset him, but he wouldn’t stop his criticism of the fight.
“I just brush it off,” he said. “I never attacked him personally, whatsoever. I was obviously very disappointed by his words. But it is what it is. I’m gonna continue defending the sport of boxing, I’m gonna continue respecting the MMA. And move on to Sept. 16.”
On that day, De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has put together the best fight of the year on paper between two of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers in the world: Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Canelo vs. GGG will be at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, just like Mayweather vs. McGregor. And unlike MayMac, De La Hoya said his bout is sold out.
“This is the fight that people have been asking for,” De La Hoya said.
White has responded to De La Hoya’s bashing of Mayweather vs. McGregor by saying that De La Hoya said publicly earlier this year that he wanted McGregor to come over from the UFC and face Canelo. White reasoned that De La Hoya is just unhappy that his guy and his company didn’t get the big “Notorious” payday and that Mayweather vs. McGregor could affect the sales of Canelo vs. GGG.
De La Hoya said he believes boxers should stick to boxing and MMA fighters should stick to MMA. He added that it might have been a good thing that McGregor did not face Alvarez in his pro boxing debut. Mayweather beat McGregor by TKO in the 10th round and De La Hoya said it would have been a far worse result had Alvarez been the opponent.
“After seeing Saturday’s fight, Canelo probably would have knocked him out in one round or two rounds,” De La Hoya said. “Canelo is a knockout guy, he’s a guy who’s not gonna trick people into making a fight last longer than it should last.”
Check out what went down at an action-packed Invicita card last night at the Taachi Palace Hotel in California. On Thursday night, Invicta FC delivered its patented brand of well-matched fights, resulting in a number finishes and razor-thin decisions. In the main event the bantamweight title was on the line in a clash between Raquel Pa’aluhi and Yana Kunitskaya. That belt was long held by Tonya Evinger, who vacated the gold when she stood up to face Cris Cyborg Justino for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 214.
Kunitskaya (a new-ish recruit of Jackson-Winkeljohn) and Pa’aluhi (an American Top Team member) put on a technical affair, that – in truth – was rarely competitive.
The first round was fought largely in the clinch with the longer Kunitskaya able to muscle the Hawaiian against the fence and land a few knees and light punches. In the last minute Pa’aluhi was able to take Kunitskaya down, but she ate some upkicks for her trouble.
The second saw more grinding clinch work from the Russian fighter, who was also able to land some kicks from range. Pa’aluhi did land some hard shots, but was unable to avoid Kunitskaya clinching up to avoid damage. Within the round, the smaller Pa’aluhi looked to tire as a result of Kunitskaya’s relentless pressure against the fence.
Kunitskaya came out lively in the third and, as before, she looked accurate from distance and overpowering in the clinch. Pa’aluhi was left looking frustrated as she whiffed on kicks and takedown attempts. This would be the story for the lion’s share of the championship rounds also. Pa’aluhi did execute a head and arm throw at the end of the fourth, but she was unable to hurt the Russian on the ground. In the fifth Kunitskaya defended the head and arm throw and then cruised her way to victory.
Kunitskaya, who kinda won the belt, but didn’t when she faced Tonya Evinger last year, was given a shutout decision victory by the judges. With the gold legitimately around her waist, the much-improved ‘Foxy’ looks a difficult match-up for any bantamweight Invicta could throw at her.
The co-main event was planned to be an Invicta strawweight title fight (that belt was vacated by Angela Hill when she rejoined the UFC). However, that was scrapped after Jodie Esquibel had to pull out due to injury. That left former champ Livia Renata Souza facing undefeated promotional newcomer Janaisa Morandin in a non-title fight.
After getting caught early on the feet, Souza took Morandin down and controlled the fight from that point on. In the first she peppered Morandin with ground and pound and was able to get full mount late on, but Morandin’s savvy saw her squirm back to guard and eventually threaten with an armbar. The round ended with Souza attempting a dragon sleeper.
The second round was much of the same, with Souza taking her opponent down and landing punches and submission attempts from top position. When Morandin did manage to stay on her feet, she impressed with some crisp strikes, but those were few and far between.
Morandin came out for the third looking for big shots against her opponent. But the fresher Souza saw them coming. Like in the previous rounds, when Souza wanted to take the fight to the ground she did so with ease. The fight ended with Souza in top position, leaving a very easy decision for the judges. Souza won on all scorecards, cementing her position as next in line for the 115lb title.
Elsewhere on the card Yaya Rincon continued to impress with her second career win, as she stopped Courtney King with punches in the second round. Also of note was the crazy comeback by Kali Robbins who, after being rocked and taken down by Sharon Jacobson, won with an armbar.
See the full results below as well as the finishes for Rincon, Robbins, and a few others:
Katharina Lehner! Welcome to @InvictaFights! #InvictaFC25 pic.twitter.com/Z6I9me5DD2— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) September 1, 2017
Can it be comeback of the year if the fight lasted less than a minute? WOW! Kali Robbins! #InvictaFC25 pic.twitter.com/HmBQv3yzOk— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) September 1, 2017
Some fantastic ground and pound by @shai_yaya! Another great win inside the @InvictaFights cage! #InvictaFC25 pic.twitter.com/ZXF0BeMuPX— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) September 1, 2017
Cheri Muraski locks in the guillotine and puts an end to this one! #InvictaFC25 pic.twitter.com/hjhcmqendu— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) September 1, 2017
Bantamweight title: Raquel Pa’aluhi def. Yana Kunitskaya via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45).
Strawweight: Livia Renata Souza def. Janaisa Morandin via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Bantamweight: Katharina Lehner def. Alexa Conners via TKO (punches) round 1 (4:21).
Strawweight: Kali Robbins def Sharon Jacobson via verbal submission (armbar) round 1 (0:42).
Atomweight: Shino VanHoose def. Alyse Anderson via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).
Bantamweight: Sarah Kleczka def Amberlynn Orr via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Featherweight: Yaya Rincon def. Courtney King via TKO (punches), round 2 (3:41).
Flyweight: Cheri Muraski def. Tracy Cortez via submission (guillotine), round 2 (2:44).
Atomweight: Jillian DeCoursey def. Ashley Medina via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Top welterweight Rory MacDonald spoke about PEDs in MMA. Rory MacDonald doesn’t usually say a lot during interviews, but he did let loose a bit on his brief but direct responses during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. The top ranked welterweight answered questions about performance enhancing drugs, saying that “it’s a true shame to see grown ass men and women doing that.”
When specifically asked about his Fight of the Year bout with Robbie Lawler back at UFC 189, Rory said “I’m convinced he was” on PEDs during that match.
The current Bellator fighter didn’t elaborate on the accusation, but for what it’s worth, USADA was still just starting to implement its new policies back then, and both Lawler and MacDonald weren’t tested by the company for their July 2015 bout.
Lawler has fought three more times since then, and has passed a total of 19 tests from USADA in 2 years. He is 2-1 in that stretch with a KO loss to Tyron Woodley, and close decision wins over Carlos Condit and Donald Cerrone.
MacDonald also discussed a recent high profile drug test failure, calling Jon Jones testing positive for anabolic steroids “shameful, like every other guy that does this crap and hides it, yet gloats during victory.”
The 28-year-old signed with Bellator last year because they had a better offer during free agency. He says he expects to face Douglas Lima for the welterweight title next, followed by a champion vs champion bout at middleweight against the winner of Gegard Mousasi vs Rafael Carvalho.
Former UFC, Strikeforce champ goes to bat for future stars.
Wrapping up training camp for her fight last November, Miesha Tate felt as though she was taking a promising step back toward the top of the bantamweight division. She was healthy and strong, disciplined and prepared. But as she walked down the Madison Square Garden aisle toward the Octagon to start the UFC 205 main card, something felt off.
There was no fear of underperformance welling up motivation. There was just a disconnect from the relentless competitor within her. The very thing that had propelled her to the greatest heights in the sport just months before was magically, mysteriously gone.
“It felt like I was having an out-of-body experience,” she told MMA Fighting. “I tried to pull it out of myself, but it wasn’t happening.”
As the fight went on, while in the midst of surviving Raquel Pennington’s barrages, she had an epiphany. And when it was over, after losing a decision, Tate, just 30 years old at the time, stunned observers by spontaneously announcing her retirement. As goodbyes go, it seemed too sudden to take root. While most chalked up the impromptu announcement to the emotion of the moment, Tate today remains confident in her decision to walk away, and content in her many accomplishments, including the UFC and Strikeforce championships.
Still, it’s not the end of her association with the sport that made her famous. Earlier this year, with partners Robert Reynolds and Robert Callister, Tate formed AO8 Management to represent fighters.
To date, they’ve signed pros Gina Mazany, Cindy Dandois, and Gustavo Lopez, amateur fighter Cheyanne Vlismas, and recently received a verbal commitment from five-division boxing champion Amanda Serrano, who plans to pursue MMA as a flyweight.
Tate, who took an active role in guiding her own career and helped other fighters in an unofficial capacity over the last few years, has recently thrown herself into a crash course on management, from sponsor pursuit to athlete development to contract negotiations and beyond.
“The reason I wanted to make it my mission is I remember how difficult it was for me in the early days, and I learned a lot during that time,” she said. “I went through the thick of it. I’ve had bad management and great management. Some set the example to follow in their footsteps; others showed what not to do. I had awful experiences being taken advantage of, and I want to make their lives as easy as possible to focus on training. With my partners, we share a vision of supporting athletes to get them to the next level.”
Early support is something Tate and AO8 see as crucial to their philosophy. It wasn’t too long ago when she herself was pinching pennies, trying to decide whether to spend money on the healthiest food available to nourish her body during training or to pay an outstanding balance on a bill.
In most other professional sports, such a dilemma is nearly nonexistent, but in MMA it’s a far-too-common occurrence. Tate says fighters took a hard hit to their wallets when the UFC and Reebok signed a much-maligned sponsorship deal that disallowed athletes from selling advertising space on their cage attire or cage banners. That development was soon followed by an exodus of many managers, who rather than get creative with marketing, moved on from the sport.
Where most saw trouble, Tate saw an opportunity. And when she met Reynolds, whose eponymous firm manages popular rock bands The Killers and Imagine Dragons, they discussed the possibility of working together to represent athletes. At the time, Tate was in the midst of her fight career, but she tucked away the idea, and after retiring, circled back to him about revisiting it.
Now, upon starting, Tate knows her name alone will open doors with prospects and targets, but she’s not content with being a conduit.
“I think managing fulfills the competition need for me,” she said. “I still feel like I’m conquering things. Part of being a fighter is conquering not just an opponent but yourself. You have to dig so deep sometimes and you have to conquer fears and different parts of yourself both emotionally and physically. It’s addicting, that growth. But now I feel I’m doing that in a different realm. It’s not physically competitive but emotionally and mentally, I still feel very competitive. I want to go out there and walk down sponsors. I want to get the best for my athletes so I’m still competing, but in a different way, in business.”
Mixed martial arts has historically been a male-dominated sport, but Tate was part of the group that helped shatter the glass ceiling. Management in the sport has also heavily skewed male. In recent history, only a handful of female managers have achieved any notable success, among them Shari Spencer, who worked with Georges St-Pierre and Frankie Edgar; Ana Claudia Guedes, who has long guided former heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos; and Tina Vidal, who managed Yoel Romero and Jorge Masvidal, among others.
Now, Tate brings the same work ethic that allowed her to reach the heights of the sport to the boardroom in hopes of becoming a manager to rival or even exceed the sport’s most notable names.
To her benefit, she has pre-existing relationships with both UFC and Bellator management, as well as with other organizations such as Combate Americas, and she’s already experienced the heated discussions that are common to contract negotiations.
“I’m confident,” she said. “I know my sport. I know my athletes, and I do not mind fighting for what I believe for them, but I’m also not delusional in the sense where I think a fighter that’s worth $10,000, I’m not going to ask for $100,000. I’m reasonable, but I’ll stand my ground for what I know is fair.”
Tate’s small stable should be increasing in the coming months as she begins to scout and research upcoming talent. In the future, the firm may even venture into different athletic endeavors. And as she begins to creep up on a year out of MMA and away from the spotlight, she says she’s never wavered on her surprise announcement.
There is no comeback coming. From here on in, it’s Miesha the manager.
“So far I’m feel really confident with my decision,” she said. “I feel that everything that I have going on is awesome and I feel very fulfilled. I don’t feel like I’m missing something. I think after 11 years of competing, after capturing the Strikeforce title, the UFC title, and doing years of wrestling before that, I think half of my life was dedicated to combat sports. I don’t feel like I’m missing out or that I didn’t do it all. It was like, I’ve reach the point it’s time to transition and that’s OK. I feel really happy to be in the position I’m in, and I’m excited to help fighters achieve the dreams they want to achieve. Everything is good.”
When Tyron Woodley won the UFC welterweight title at UFC 201 last July, he immediately began angling for “money fights” with Nick Diaz or Georges St-Pierre. This was a point of contention for many fans who dubbed Woodley, “The Choosey One” – a play on his “The Chosen One” sobriquet – because Woodley had two clear-cut challengers waiting in the wings while both Diaz and St-Pierre hadn’t fought in years. But now that Woodley has defended his belt three times in the last year, all against No. 1 contenders, and there is no obvious contender for him to face next, Woodley is back to dreaming big, and this time, his calls for marquee fights might carry a bit more heft.
Speaking recently with Sports Illustrated, the welterweight champ says he wants the next headline about him to read: “Tyron Woodley is going up to middleweight to face Georges St-Pierre if he beats Michael Bisping,” because that would establish himself as the greatest welterweight of all time and cap off the best run in the history of the welterweight division.
“I wanted to fight one more time, I was being greedy. I wanted to go out here and beat [Demian Maia] and I wanted to fight Georges St-Pierre in November in New York City. This would’ve been the greatest year competitively, and after I beat Georges, there is no question that I’ll be Fighter of the Year. I fight five title fights in 18 months and beat the greatest welterweight of all time, nobody has done anything like that in our sport. . .
“My brother-in-law just asked me [who I’m fighting next] and I said you know what, if he wins I’m going up there to fight him cause you can’t keep running from me.”
St-Pierre is the long-time welterweight kingpin who retired with the belt in 2013. He is set to make his return at UFC 217 where he will challenge Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title. If he wins, St-Pierre will be only the fourth person in UFC history to have won belts in two divisions; but if he loses, St-Pierre may possibly retire from the sport for good, leaving Woodley without his preferred money fight. Woodley says that would be suboptimal for him but in the end, he would be happy to fight whoever wins that fight, even if it is Bisping.
“I would fight Bisping as well, to be honest. I’m not just saying I want to move up to middleweight because at welterweight I’m a larger size and I feel comfortable at the weight. I have no issues making it, it’s not easy but I always get it done.
“To fight Bisping or Georges, I’d love fight either one. But mainly I want to fight Georges.”
There’s one more impediment to Woodley’s grand designs: Robert Whittaker just won the interim UFC middleweight championship and will ostensibly be next in line for a fight with the winner of St-Pierre vs. Bisping. But Woodley scoffs that off, noting that in the fight game, particularly nowadays, meritocracy always takes a back seat to economics.
“There is no such thing as a stipulation, you’re a sub-contract worker. You’re not obligated or required to do anything. What about when Johny Hendricks was the clear-cut winner and it was time for him to fight for the title and he got passed over by Nick Diaz who lost to Carlos Condit? It’s a game of what fight makes money, that’s all it is.
“There is no No. 1 contender, I’ve fought them all, right? At the end of the day, you don’t get rewarded for beating someone whose claim is the No. 1 contender, the No. 1 guy outside the champion. There is no reward for that. . .
“But guys can go out and fight guys that aren’t even in their weight class, aren’t even ranked in the top-10. Bisping’s last fight against Dan Henderson, was Dan Henderson even in the top-15 at the time? Conor fought Nate Diaz at 170 and neither one of those guys are true 170-pounders. It’s not a matter of No. 1 contendership anymore. It’s a matter of money and business.”
But for now, Woodley is just another fighter on the outside looking in, hoping to land a superfight, the same one he’s been chasing for over a year. But as he continues to press onwards towards his goals, he’s has faith everything will work out for him.
“I know when you do things systematically, non-stop, and repetition, that’s how you make things happen in your life.”
1995:Bas Rutten won the King of Pancrase title when he submitted Minoru Suzuki with a guillotine choke at Pancrase: 1995 Anniversary Show.
2012: Greg Jackson killed MMA when UFC 151 did not go on as scheduled. 151 was to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson but Henderson was forced to withdraw and Jones refused to take on a short notice opponent, forcing the UFC to cancel the event.
First fight weekend in a long time and it’s…… not great. Still, nice to have fights back even if there are only 3 weekends for the rest of the year that won’t have a UFC event and we’ll all be burnt out soon. Ahead of UFC Fight Night: Rotterdam, check out this piece by Karim Zidan about Abdul-Kerim Edilov, a fighter making his UFC debut this weekend who also happens to work for Ramzan Kadyrov, among the most notorious people on the planet.
Take it easy, enjoy the fights, and see y’all Monday.
Oh, and since we do have polls, let’s start bringing these bad boys back.
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.
Vote now in the Bloody Elbow Baddest Tournament to determine the Greatest MMA Light Heavyweight of All Time. Today’s match-up: #2 Dan Henderson vs. #7 Alistair Overeem. Vote now! This is going to be shocking news, and tough to handle for some of our readers, so prepare yourselves. Nikita Krylov is NOT the Greatest Light Heavyweight of all Time. The #8 seeded Krylov put up a valiant effort, but fell to #1 Daniel Cormier, 42-12. Of course, if Cormier goes on to win it all, Krylov fans could make a claim for him as #2. Just saying.
Today, a battle between two Pride veterans, and two men who spent much of their career in other weight classes. It’s the #2 seed and former Pride champion Dan Henderson vs. #7 Alistair Overeem in his pre-Reem days. I understand horse meat is banned from this showdown.
In order to vote, simply leave a comment. In the subject line make sure you follow these guidelines:
To vote for Dan Henderson write: Vote – Henderson
To vote for Alistair Overeem write: Vote – Overeem
Voting is open for 24 hours, so get your votes in now.
Tournament bracket (click to enlarge):
BE Baddest Light Heavyweight Full Bracket
Tournament graphics provided by June M. Williams.
Manny Pacquiao won’t be fighting Jeff Horn this year. Manny Pacquiao lost a highly disputed decision to Jeff Horn last July, and early planning stages for a rematch had been originally penciled in for November. According to multiple reports, that isn’t the case anymore.
Horn’s promoter also confirmed this, saying that the Pacquiao, who is also a senator in the Philippines, will have other duties that would prevent him from having a proper training camp.
“Manny Pacquiao has decided that he will not be competing in a rematch with Jeff Horn in 2017,” Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan told the Daily Telegraph in Australia.
“On behalf of the Philippines government he will be part of a delegation that will visit China in the middle of his proposed preparation period for the fight.”
According to Lonergan, they will be looking for a new opponent for Horn, as he looks to defend the WBO title that he took in that bout with Pacquiao.
While obviously not coming directly from the Filipino’s camp, Lonergan also claims that Pacquiao will be competing again in 2018, with the rematch still the option they’re looking at.
Related: Terence Crawford plans to move up to 147, wants Horn-Pacquiao 2 winner
The 38-year-old Pacquiao is in the twilight of his hall-of-fame boxing career. This is why seeing a rematch — and a possible trilogy — of a bout I felt he already won clearly isn’t the most interesting use of his time remaining in the sport. We already saw the same thing with Timothy Bradley, and I’m not a fan of seeing a repeat of that to close out his career.
This is why news of the cancellation is music to my ears, as there’s a small chance they move on from it completely. I’d rather see Manny fight closer to his normal weight, instead of unnecessarily giving up size and strength now that he’s past his prime and done chasing history in his 8th division.
Come to think of it, I’d prefer he drop out of politics instead of boxing fights, but that’s neither here nor there.
After a false start with the title last year, Kunitskaya beat Raquel Pa’aluhi by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) to win the vacant Invicta women’s bantamweight title Thursday night in the main event of Invicta FC 25 at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, Calif.
Kunitskaya dominated most of the fight with Pa’aluhi with her strength and striking in the clinch, especially hard knees to the body. The Russian fighter blooded Pa’aluhi with an up kick in the first round and stymied the Hawaiian every time she shot in for a takedown. Pa’aluhi is an excellent ground fighter with good boxing, but Kunitskaya’s technique in every aspect, strength and guile gave her the edge from almost bell to bell.
Last November, Kunitskaya seemed to win the Invicta bantamweight title with an armbar victory over Tonya Evinger. But the result was overturned to a no contest and Evinger was given back the belt when the Missouri Athletic Commission determined the referee had made an error in telling Evinger to move from a legal position.
Kunitskaya (10-3, 1 NC) got a rematch against Evinger in March, but fell by second-round submission to the grizzled veteran. Evinger left Invicta for the UFC last month, vacating the belt.
After the first fight against Evinger, the 27-year-old Kunitskaya moved to JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., to train and Thursday night she credited that transition to helping her game. The lengthy and strong 5-foot-8 fighter seems to have a real foothold in the division now.
Pa’aluhi (6-6) has now lost two of three fights, in between a first-round submission victory over Pannie Kianzad in January that set up this title shot. Though she’s been fighting for seven years, Pa’aluhi, a Las Vegas resident, is still just 26 years old and a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Robert Drysdale.
In the co-main event, Livia Renata Souza put on an impressive performance just 19 days after the death of her father. Souza, the former Invicta strawweight champion, had a tough time with the striking of Janaisa Morandin, but got the fight to the ground and did work there when needed en route to a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) victory.
Souza (11-1) found creative ways to get the very game Morandin down to the ground in the first and second rounds. In the third, she let her hands go and took Morandin down again in what was the clearest round win of the night for her. Souza, 26, was supposed to fight Thursday night for for the vacant 115-pound title against Jodie Esquibel, but Esquibel withdrew due to injury and Morandin stepped in.
Morandin (9-1) had a ton of success on the feet against Souza, lumping her up with boxing and landing a big knee. She also nearly had Souza in a triangle choke at the end of the second round. Morandin is just 22 years old and seems like a top prospect in either the strawweight division or atomweight, where she missed what earlier this year in what was supposed to be her Invicta debut.
Lehner impressed with an aggressive, high-pressure style in finishing Alexa Conners by TKO at 4:21 of the first round. Lehner (6-0) remained undefeated with the victory, lumping Conners up with her boxing and not letting her get any space whatsoever. Conners (3-2) came in on a three-fight winning streak.
It looked very quickly like Sharon Jacobsen would roll in her return to the cage. She landed hard punches on an incoming Kali Robbins to begin the fight, then launched her with an incredible hip toss to the ground. From there, it seemed like Jacobsen would have complete control.
Of course, this still MMA, though. And Robbins is a strong grappler. She grabbed onto Jacobsen’s arm, held onto it in transition and finished via armbar at just :42 Thursday night to remain undefeated.
Robbins (5-0), who missed weight for a second straight time Wednesday, has won all five of her fights by finish, including four by submission. Jacobsen (4-2) had won four straight coming in, but has not fought since September 2015, a unanimous decision win over current UFC fighter Jamie Moyle.
At 38 years old, Cheri Muraski might not be the typical women’s MMA prospect, but she has gotten off to an impressive start to her career. Muraski finished debuting Tracy Cortez by guillotine choke submission at 2:42 of the first round to move to a perfect 3-0. The flyweight fighter Fort Collins, Colo., is a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and now has two out of three career wins by submission.
In the opener, Jillian DeCoursey defeated Ashley Medina by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in a fight that marked both their pro debuts. DeCoursey dedicated the victory to her late father, as this was the anniversary of her final conversation with him and it was about one day fighting for Invicta.